01 Feb 2018
A former Victorian medical practitioner who practised the profession after being suspended by the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) has been fined $100,000 for breaching the National Law.
Mr Mohamad Anwar, who did not attend the Magistrates Court at Melbourne today, pleaded guilty through his legal representation and was convicted of four charges of ‘holding himself out’ as a registered medical practitioner when he was not.
The charges were laid following an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
On 19 August 2016, Mr Anwar was suspended by the Board. This meant he could not practise as a medical practitioner.
The court heard that a few weeks after being suspended by the Board, Mr Anwar breached the National Law by continuing to practise by providing services to patients as a medical practitioner at the Victorian Cosmetic and Laser Clinic.
At this time Mr Anwar is no longer registered as a medical practitioner in Australia.
AHPRA CEO, Martin Fletcher welcomed the court outcome as a strong message to anyone who thinks they can treat patients as a medical practitioner when they are not registered to do so.
‘This is the single largest fine against an individual in Australia for claiming to be a registered medical practitioner when they are not under the National Law1.’
“Patient safety is our clear focus and this outcome makes clear that AHPRA will use its full powers to prosecute anyone who is putting the public at risk through this unlawful behaviour.
‘I encourage patients to check our national register of practitioners when seeing a health practitioner who should be registered. Remember if your practitioner is listed on the register you can be assured you’re accessing care from a registered health practitioner who is required to be suitably qualified and trained and meet national standards.’
The court recorded a conviction against Mr Anwar and imposed a total fine of $100,000 as well as awarding costs to AHPRA in the amount of $14,884.56.
It is a serious matter if anyone who is not a registered health practitioner claims to be a registered health practitioner or uses titles that are protected under the National Law (e.g. medical practitioner). Both are offences and may be prosecuted by AHPRA.
The National Law protects the public by ensuring that only registered health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified are able to use protected titles. The law allows for penalties to be issued by the Court for using protected titles or holding out as a registered practitioner when not entitled to. The maximum penalty which a court may impose per charge is $30,000 (in the case of an individual) or $60,000 (in the case of a body corporate).
It is important that you ensure that the practitioner you are seeing is appropriately registered. Anyone receiving treatment from a person who is claiming to be registered when they are not is a cause for concern. Remember to check the Register of practitioners or you can raise a concern by calling 1300 419 495.
1Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).